Is the lack of ‘proper’ patriotism killing the national side?
There is an air of the somewhat hypocritical about the way the country is embracing the World Cup. It is lovely to see so many people backing the national side and yet at the same time we seem embarrassed to do so, with people (apparently) being told not to display flags or anything even mildly patriotic in case it is offensive to someone. No doubt the media will be on the backs of any and all players guilty of the smallest mistake (or the big ones) Indeed they had started even before a ball was kicked in the tournament, with their lambasting of Rooney for his temper and prediction of how badly behaved he will be. (Not very, if the performance against USA is anything to go by) Not very patriotic, is it!
Every four years it is the same merry-go-round of unsupportive press, patriotic fans coming out of the woodwork and quickly disappearing back there once England are knocked out (probably on penalties) and a team that just doesn’t know how to play together, and probably wouldn’t want to even if they could.
You just have to look at the behaviour of other teams to see where we are going wrong. The playing of the national anthems is quite telling. Just how many England players actually know the words of our national anthem? Only 3 people seemed to want to sing it in the game against the USA. And yet every American player had their hands over their hearts in respect for their country. If you’re chosen to represent your country then shouldn’t you be proud of that fact? Or is it just that we are so ashamed to be English that even singing the national anthem is an embarrassment?
But the FA doesn’t help matters. Once again we have a foreign coach at the helm; there is no doubt about his credentials as a manager but can he really instil a feeling of pride for the country when he isn’t English? Can he really deny his heritage and focus on representing England – because that is what he should be doing. What happens if England meet Italy during the tournament, will it be business as usual or will a part of him be silently rooting for the Italians? It’s not just the English FA at fault, England are not the only country to employ a foreign coach. It seems over the last few years winning has become everything, and tactics are superseding national pride. It’s not enough anymore to simply don the three lions and play with pride for your country. Now it is about winning at all costs, even if that means losing some of the patriotism along the way. And a small part of me wonders if it is not all just business now and forget about National Pride.
If we are once again knocked out of the World Cup and fail to win, it will not be purely down to Don Fabio, that’s for sure, but come the beginning of August who will actually care about what happened? We’ll be back to our multicultural ways and encouraged embarrassment at being English. And isn’t that just a little bit sad.